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Juan Marsé: Si te dicen que caí (The Fallen)

Marsé wrote this novel, knowing full well it would not get past the Spanish Francoist censorship. When it was complete, a friend suggested he submit it for the Premio Internacional de Novela”Mexico” (the Mexico International Novel Prize). He did so and it won. Accordingly, it was published in Mexico before it was published in Spain but with lots of errors. It was fifteen years before he got round to publishing a corrected version. Its effect now is probably more potent for Spanish readers, as a symbol of opposition to the Franco regime. For me, it seemed no more than interesting, in its depiction of juvenile gangs, juvenile prostitution, orphanages, petty crime and petty terrorism – the essential hopelessness of the post-Civil War Franco era, with little future for the children of Spain.

Publishing history

First published in Spanish 1973 by Editorial Novara, Mexico City; revised Spanish version published by Seix Barral 1989
First published in English 1979 by Little, Brown
Translated by Helen R. Lane